Mariya Frost is the director of the Coles Center for Transportation at the Washington Policy Center.
Four years ago, transportation experts predicted Sound Transit’s light rail expansion would be obsolete before it’s built. Now, Covid-19’s impact on how we work and travel has accelerated trends that were already happening.
Despite uncertainty, transit advocates still pushed Sound Transit 3 (ST3) onto the 2016 ballot, where voters — desperate for anything to improve their commute — passed it. The ST3 program allows Sound Transit, the Puget Sound region’s transit authority, to tax residents in most of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties indefinitely. Officials plan to spend billions to send light rail to low-density suburban areas despite better alternatives like Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which is more flexible and less expensive.
It is time for a Sound Transit reset.